There's nothing like my annual alumnus magazine to make me feel a failure.  This year, I read that one of my contemporaries was Rachel Weisz's boyfriend (!!!); and that two other alumni are responsible for those pillars of cutting-edge literary culture, `C**p Towns' and `C**p Towns II' (!!!!), identifying the worst places in Britain to live (my guess is that Luton and Basingstoke must feature pretty heavily.....).  With cultural competition like that, I have only the fact that I'm not Welsh to stop me feeling like a total waste of space.

On a more serious note, I note the death of another contemporary in the obituray column of the magazine.  I remember hearing a sermon at college where the preacher, in a vain effort to persuade a bunch of nineteen years olds of their mortality, told us all to read the obits column of our alumni magazines every year.  Sooner or later, he said, we would see the truth of our own mortality reflected in the ever-increasing numbers of our contemporaries who die.  Today's one of those days, I guess, when I am reminded not simply of my own failure, but of the failure of humanity as a whole; and then of the one who brings success paradoxically, through his failure,of the one who brings salvation not from death, but through death.